woman wearing glasses smiling at camera Catherine A. Ciepiela ’83 - Howard M. and Martha P. Mitchell Professor of Russian, Director of the Amherst Center for Russian Culture
Catherine Ciepiela '83, Howard M. and Martha P. Mitchell Professor of Russian, writes about and translates Russian poetry. She discovered the subject as an Amherst student listening to the poet Joseph Brodsky lecture on Russian Romantic poetry with inspiring depth and elegance, and she went on to receive her PhD at Yale in Slavic Languages and Literatures. She was also drawn to the subject by family history: her Canadian mother and American father met in Moscow, where they were posted to their respective embassies during the late 50s. She first traveled to Russia in 1980 and is grateful to have experienced Soviet Russia first-hand and observed the country’s later transformations.

Catherine is an acknowledged expert on the poet Marina Tsvetaeva (1892-1941), whose epistolary romance with Boris Pasternak (1890-1960) was the subject of her book The Same Solitude (Cornell, 2006), which received a national award for the best book of literary/cultural criticism in the field. She co-edited with poet Honor Moore The Stray Dog Cabaret, an anthology of Paul Schmidt’s translations which frames a group portrait of the Russian modernists. The volume appeared in the Classics series published by New York Review of Books and was a finalist for the PEN Poetry in Translation Award in 2007. She also edited the anthology Relocations: Three Contemporary Russian Women Poets (Zephyr, 2013), which was featured in the “European Voices” series at Boston University.

Catherine also works as a translator of Russian poetry. Her translations of Marina Tsvetaeva’s poetry have been supported by residencies at MacDowell, the Banff International Centre for Literary Translation and Hawthornden, and they have appeared in The Nation, Seneca Review, The Common and elsewhere. She also translates the work of the contemporary poet Polina Barskova. Her translations of Barskova’s poetry have been published in The Massachusetts Review, Spillway and Cosmonaut’s Avenue, and she won a Joseph Brodsky/Stephen Spender prize in 2012 for one of these. She is currently translating Barskova’s first book of poetic prose, for which the poet won Russia’s top literary prize in 2015. 


Man in glasses looking at the camera Bryn Geffert - Librarian of the College
Bryn Geffert is the librarian of the college at Amherst College. He majored in history and in Russian, graduating summa cum laude from St. Olaf College, with breaks for study in Scotland and the Soviet Union, plus stints as a lifeguard and Red Cross swimming instructor. Bryn received an M.S. in library and information science from the University of Illinois, and an M.A. in Russian history and a Ph.D. in modern European history from the University of Minnesota.

Bryn returned to his alma mater, St. Olaf College, where he worked for sixteen years, first as a reference librarian and then as library director and an associate professor of Russian studies. Before coming to Amherst, he served as the library director and an associate professor of history at the United States Military Academy, better known as West Point.

Bryn’s personal research focuses on Russian social and intellectual history. Recent publications include Eastern Orthodox and Anglicans: Diplomacy, Theology, and the Politics of Interwar Ecumenism (Notre Dame University Press, 2010) and Eastern Orthodox Christianity: The Essential Texts (Yale University Press, 2016).


Person looking into the camera Sergey Glebov - Associate Professor of History
Sergey Glebov is a historian of the Russian Empire/USSR, and received his Masters degree in Nationalism Studies from the Central European University in Budapest and his Ph.D. from Rutgers University. He holds a joint appointment in the History Departments of Amherst and Smith Colleges.

His research focuses on intellectual, political, and cultural history of the Russian empire and Soviet Union and on ideologies of imperial expansion, Russian nationalism and Russia 's nationalities. Sergey’s research into the history of the Eurasianist movement led him to explore connections between re-imaginings of Russian imperial space and the emerging structuralism in interwar Europe. He is also interested in the history of the Russian Empire in Siberia, the Far East, and North America, in particular in the interactions of native peoples and imperial structures, and in the history of missionary activities and scholarly exploration. He is a founding editor of Ab Imperio. Studies in New Imperial History and Nationalism in the Post-Soviet Space. Currently, he is working on a project focusing on the history of Russian – Chinese borderland in the Far East.


Man smiling into the camera Andrew Kuchins ’81 - Senior Fellow at Georgetown University and Director of the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies
Dr. Andrew C. Kuchins is a Senior Fellow and Research Professor at the Center for Eurasian, Russian, and East European Studies (CERES) in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. He has previously held senior positions at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. He also taught and held research positions at Stanford University, UC Berkeley, and the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.

He is the author and editor of 6 books, including The Russia Balance Sheet (With Anders Aslund), Russia after the Fall and more than 100 academic articles, book chapters, reports, and op-eds. He is currently working on a manuscript entitled The Long Game of US-Russia-Relations: What We Should Have Learned and What We Should Do Now that will be published in December 2016. He regularly consults with U.S. government agencies and officials, foreign policymakers, and business about developments in Russia and Eurasia, and is frequently called upon for commentary and analysis by leading U.S. and foreign media. He holds a BA from Amherst College and an MA and PhD from Johns Hopkins SAIS.


Black and white image of man smiling into the camera

Michael M. Kunichika – Associate Professor of Russian
Michael Kunichika is an associate professor of Russian and a contributing faculty member to the department of Film Studies. With research interests including Russian modernism, critical theory, and cinema studies, he is currently teaching courses on Russian language and literature drawing from all periods of modern Russian culture. He has previously taught at New York University and Harvard. Kunichika is currently working on two projects: the first examines avant-garde cinema and anti-imperialism in the 1920s; the second is a study of prehistoric archaeology in the Soviet Union, with a special focus on how it was studied in art history and semiotics. His first book “Our Native Antiquity”: Aesthetics and Archaeology in the Culture of Russian Modernism (2015) received an honorable mention for the Wayne S. Vucinich Prize (2016). His research has been supported by the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard and the Institute of the Advanced Study (Princeton, NJ).


Man wearing glasses with a mosaic wall behind him Kevin Moss ’77 - Jean Thomson Fulton Prof of Modern Languages & Literature, Middlebury College
Kevin Moss is the Jean Thomson Fulton Professor of Modern Languages and Literature at Middlebury College. With a PhD in Slavic Studies and Russian Literature from Cornell, he has studied Russian gay literature and culture since the early 90s. In 1997 he edited the first anthology of gay Russian materials in any language, Out of the Blue: Russia’s Hidden Gay Literature (Gay Sunshine Press). He has written on films with queer characters from countries across Eastern Europe, on gay pride parades in Croatia, and on the prose of Evgeny Kharitonov and Gennady Trifonov. Recently he has collaborated with colleagues from the EU on a study of anti-gender campaigns in Europe. He is a founding member of Q*ASEEES, the Society for the Promotion of LGBTQ Slavic, East European, & Eurasian Studies.


Woman wearing pearls smiling at camera Alla Rosenfeld - Curator of Russian and European Art
Dr. Alla Rosenfeld received her M.A. from the Academy of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg (Russia) in 1987, and her Ph.D. in modern and contemporary European art at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, in 2003. Dr. Rosenfeld has taught Russian art and culture at Rutgers University, where she also served as Senior Curator of Russian and Soviet Nonconformist Art at the Zimmerli Art Museum from 1992 until 2006 and as Director of the Zimmerli’s Russian Art Department. At the Zimmerli she organized many exhibitions of Russian art and was an editor and contributor to numerous publications, including Moscow Conceptualism in Context (2011); Art of the Baltics, 1945-1991 (2001); Defining Russian Graphic Arts, 1898–1934 (1999); and From Gulag to Glasnost: Nonconformist Art from the Soviet Union (1995). Her independent curatorial projects include the traveling exhibition “A World of Stage: Russian Designs for Theater, Opera, and Dance” (2007), presented in Kyoto and Tokyo. From 2006 to 2009, Dr. Rosenfeld worked as Vice President and Senior Specialist in the Russian Paintings Department at Sotheby’s in New York. From 2009 to 2013, Rosenfeld served on the International Jury for the Kandinsky Prize in Moscow. She has received many awards and fellowships, including from the Belvedere Museum of Austrian Art in Vienna and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.

In May 2017, she was appointed Curator of Russian and European Art at the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College. Dr. Rosenfeld oversees the program for Russian and European art at the Mead museum, including researching the collection, developing exhibitions and proposing new acquisitions.


Woman smiling at the camera Kathleen E. Smith ’87 - Professor of Teaching, Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies, Georgetown University
After graduating from Amherst College with a double major in Russian Studies and Political Science, Kathleen (Kelly) E. Smith earned an MA and PhD in Political Science at UC Berkeley.  She has taught at Hamilton College and George Washington University and currently is Teaching Professor in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.  She is the author of two academic books on memory and politics in Russia published by Cornell University, Mythmaking in the New Russia and Remembering Stalin’s Victims. She also recently published Moscow 1956: The Silenced Spring with Harvard University Press.


Image of an older man in red sweater and glasses William Taubman - Bertrand Snell Professor of Political Science, Emeritus
William Taubman, the Bertrand Snell Professor of Political Science Emeritus at Amherst College, is the author of the just-published Gorbachev: His Life and Times. His biography, Khrushchev: The Man and His Era, won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award for biography. Also the author of Stalin’s American Policy: From Entente to Détente to Cold War, and co-author with his wife, retired Amherst College professor of Russian Jane Taubman, of Moscow Spring, William Taubman was president of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies in 2009 and chairs the Academic Advisory Committee of the Cold War International History Project at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington. He has received the Karel Kramar Medal of the Czech Republic and the Order of Friendship of the Russian Federation.